Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace (Genesis 19:27, 28).
They call it an alternative life style. Of course it is. Evil is always an alternative to good. Satan’s ways are always the alternative to holy ways. It has been that way since Eden.
But alternative does not always mean acceptable.
What used to be called sexual perversion, then homosexuality, is now called the gay lifestyle. But gay it is not—not if the word retains the meaning of happy and carefree. Call it a sad lifestyle, a shameful lifestyle, or a damned lifestyle—that’s what God calls it.
Those who have seen smoke rising over decimated battlefields, those who remember the pictures of the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they are the ones who can visualize what Abraham saw as he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah on that day.
Death from the sky had fallen on that place and those people. Fire from heaven melted life, and the places were no more. We hear: Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.
God isn’t kidding when he says the wages of sin is death.
And what did Abraham think when he saw God’s judgment? “They deserved it!”? Yes, they did! “Thank God I’m not like them!”? He had no reason to gloat. He also had taken alternative routes in his life. Dark, shameful stains marked his record.
He may have sinned against the holy God in different ways, but sin he did. Guilty he was. Deserving of the fierce heavenly fire, he stood there without excuse.
He used his wife’s servant to produce an heir for his line. He had talked his wife into telling pagan Pharaoh that she was his sister, not his wife. He allowed her to be taken into a harem rather than risk his own life. That’s only the beginning of his list of shame.
What kind of man was that? A sinful kind. A human kind. Our kind.
The Lord God had to rescue Lot, Abraham’s nephew, from the firestorm. He had grown too accustomed, too close, too non-judgmental of this alternative lifestyle.
The Lord God had to rescue Abraham from the death-bringing infection of his sin, his departure from God’s ways.
And the Lord God had to rescue us from the same firetrap.
From the sinful line of Abraham, the Sinless One would come. He would pay the price for the defiance of God’s holy law. His blood would wipe us clean.
Either by force or by glad obedience the holy way of God will prevail in the end.
Those who know of his fierce judgment and of his loving kindness, they understand that when it comes to accepting the holy will of God, and striving to live according it—there is just no alternative.
Holy Father, Holy Son and Holy Spirit, we must admit that in us, that is in our flesh, is no good thing. You have said that. And while we sometimes do not accept it, your words are true. Satan tempts us often with all sorts of sin. Too many times we surrender to his will. Forgive our shameful sin, no matter what form it may take. Rescue us from its grip. Free us with your forgiveness and blessing. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military